tv Q A CSPAN August 31, 2014 8:00pm-8:31pm EDT
leaders about the politics and breakfast in new hampshire. ♪ on "q&a," our guest is the chief judge of the u.s. second circuit court of appeals robert katzmann. he talks about his new book talksng statutes," which about his approach to interpreting laws. his thoughts about on televised coverage of courtroom proceedings. >> chief judge robert katzmann inthe second circuit courts
new york, it says in your bio you are the only jurist in the federal courts with a phd in political science. how can that be? >> it just happens, i guess. out going to graduate school in political science at harvard. , worked withhd james wilson and daniel patrick moynihan and richard neustadt, and then went to law school at yale. i am originally from new york. i am a product of the public schools in new york. so, going to those schools -- outside columbia as an undergraduate, going to those schools were really my first exposure outside of new york and got those degrees and then spent really a career before the bench
trying to look at the workings of our institutions. and studied relations between the branches of government at the brookings institution and at georgetown. senator daniel patrick moynihan, who had been my professor at harvard, and i was his teaching assistant, he .as on my oral exam because of him, i became a judge. ofwe have got some videotape you from 1993 testifying. where would you have been? >> i can tell you exactly what i was doing, that day in fact. i was accompanying risk data ,its -- ruth bader ginsburg
meeting with the senators on the hill. senator moynihan had asked me if i would work with her. she did not need any work because she was so fully prepared and everything. and i made every meeting with her that was scheduled except one, with barbara boxer, because the time i was opposed to meet with harbor boxer with then judge ginsburg, i was to testify before the joint committee on the organization of congress on matters of judicial and congressional relations. >> it is a short clip. let's watch you -- i guess this is 21 years ago. >> in the area of statute and the interpretation of statutes and the revision of statutes, we
are so intimately involved with thinkther's processes, a it certainly makes sense, and certainly the constitution does not preclude in any way that each branch try to have a better 'sderstanding of the other work product with an eye toward improving that relationship. >> what do you say to somebody watching this. we are in the weeds. their eyes glaze over. you have a new book out called "judging statutes." how does it relate to the average person? the think it relates to average person this way, the subject. if you ask the average person what does a judge do, the citizen intelligent would say "interpret the constitution." and of course that is correct. but that is not all what judges do. what judges spend a lot of time doing, and the supreme court's
docket, two thirds of its cases involve doing this, is to interpret the laws of congress. from theave got laws affordable health care act. you have laws having to do with clean air, clean water, civil rights. you have major legislation, environmental legislation, gender legislation. you have laws having to do with national security. when congress passes a law, oftentimes there is a lawsuit in way the statute should be interpreted. what do the words of the statute mean? when those words are ambiguous, the challenge for a courts is difficult. howink that understanding
judges go about interpreting statutes is something that we should all be interested in, because in a way, even though the legislative process formally ends with the passage of a law, in some sense that process there is ahen lawsuit, trying to make sense of what the words mean. the secondt it -- circuit court of appeals in context. i looked at some numbers. you can tell me if the numbers are wrong -- now, of course, i can't find them. how many district courts there are, how many circuit courts there are, and how they fit -- we hear a lot about the supreme court. i counted 94 judicial boards, circuit district courts, 12 circuits, and of course one supreme court. what does a district court do? is the court court
of injury in the federal system. district court is a one judge court. district court is the trials. so, if it is a martha stewart trial, a case involving a jury, that will be conducted by a one judge district court. and the district court also will hear other kinds of cases. when the party loses, the party, if it so chooses, will appeal to the court of appeals. that is the circuit court. that is my court. , is one, second circuit of the cords that you alluded to. we have 13 full-time judges and nine senior judges. we have 22 judges. >> what is a senior judge?
>> a senior judge is someone who is over 65, has the requisite number of years of experience, and can take senior status. there is an arcane rule known as the rule of 80. if you are 65 and have 15 years of service -- 65 plus 15 equals 80. you can go on senior status. if you're 70, if you went on the .ench at 60, you have to wait the senior judges do a large metal work and our court system. when they go senior, what happens is it creates a vacancy so that we can get another judge, and so a combination of the senior judges and the full-time active judges allows us to function. >> all judges, federal judges for life? >> all federal judges for life.
have 94 judicial courts, and within the second circuit court, how many district courts would send their appeals to you? >> there would be six to strip courts. itself -- circuit there would be six district courts. the second circuit itself impresses new york, connecticut, and vermont. new york has four districts. connecticut has its own district and vermont has its own district court. ando those cases all feed -- and so those cases all feed into our circuit. >> you were nominated and confirmed to be on the second circuit court when? >> 1999. it was a process that fortunately went smoothly. senator moynihan was a tremendous advocate. >> let me show you something.
we have some video of senator moynihan on the floor of the senate back in 1999. brief personal note, this is a special moment for the senator from new york. judge katzmann was a graduate student of mine. the oralsmber of examining committee when he received his phd. he has been a remarkable student. at georgetownaw university at this point. and an author of important articles and books on the relationship between the , agress and the judiciary subject little attended and important. 2003,has been gone since
but how did you get interested in the first place in the subject between the judiciary and the courts? >> i got interested in it most generally because of my concern with the way that the branches of government interact. i have done books and other other areas. the key point, i think, was in 1984, frank kaufman, the chair of the committee branch under the judicial conference, which is one of the committees of the conference that consists of the chief judges of the circuit and the district judges. and they work on administration of justice issues. when judge kaufman who chaired that committee asked me if i would assist him and designing an agenda for research of relations between the courts and congress. that is how i really got into
it. because i have the political science background, i was asked to work with him on this. i had known him from my year on the first circuit as a law clerk . and together we designed an agenda. and that led to a series of books and projects. judges and legislators, courts and congress. am then the projects that i -- that i designed with them, facilitating improvements between the branches with respect to making sure that when the courts of appeals have opinions that are of interest to congress, congress would know about it. >> i think you point out there are only two former members of congress that are judges anywhere in the federal system? >> that is right. at -- anywhere in the federal system?
>> that is right. when i was working with the committee on the judicial branch, there were many judges former -- many legislators who were former judges. mixup, jameser buckley. donald russell. .here was charles wiggins and so on and so forth. judgesre are very few who have had legislative experience. and as members of congress, there are a number of judges who have served on the hill, like richard eaton. but in terms of legislators who
had judicial experience, you hastings. you have senator cornyn, who was on the texas supreme court. it is a very limited number of people in both branches who have had hands-on experience in the other branch. >> can't help but ask though, if you look at the statistics of the numbers are former members of congress and the senate who go into lobbying that makes a tremendous amount of money, how much of this is tied to the fact that judges in the context of the city do not make that much. your chief judge. what is it, one hundred $50,000 a year? >> no, it is an increase. but the key is public service as a calling. it reallys who are in feel privileged to be in it.
it is certainly true that i have observed the phenomenon where i am in a court room and everybody arguing the cases are probably multimillionaires. but what a great system it is that we are in it not for the money, but we want to serve the public good? precious, it a really treasured honor to be in the system. >> where is your court located yucca >> we are located in downtown new york city at 44 30 foley square. it is now known as the thurgood marshall courthouse because their guard marshall served on the second circuit and had chambers in our courthouse -- thurgood marshall served on the second circuit and the chambers in our courthouse.
designer also designed to be supreme court courthouse. our courthouse has been the site of many exciting, important cases. case, example -- >> then it went to the supreme court. >> then it went to the supreme court. it also came up through the dce circuit, parallel cases, "the washington post" and "the new york times." >> you have been chief judge for how long and what does that mean? >> i have been chief judge from most a year, september 1. the chief judge is responsible for the operations of the court. term.a seven-year we have 291 persons working in , and that circuit
includes the judges, clerks, and .he administrative people we have a budget that ranges -- a local budget that ranges between 16.5 million dollars and $19 million. plus there is money paid centrally by washington, d.c., the salaries of the judges and the clerks. roughly $12.5r million. >> i do not want to put words in your mouth, but i would assume primarilyt conservative? >> i would say to label is to ignore. -- label is toay to ignore. >> this guy, senator moynihan does not just appeal to people on the liberal side. i'm good to show you a clip of george will talking about him
here. was throughout his career the senate for a leading intellectual, which is like being the tallest building in tobago. -- topeka. [laughter] [applause] tenure, hesenate wrote more books than most of his colleagues read. [laughter] what is a senator? 1% of one half of one of the three branches of government. unless of course you are mr. moynihan. then things are different. his life was, as we shall now endeavor to make clear, one of the broadest and deepest public careers in american history. >> what is it about the memory of senator moynihan that can appeal to all political sides? thatthink that the reason he is still a figure -- and it is really quite something.
a week does not go by when isn't quoting him for some proposition or another. i think part of it is he appealed to reason. , regardlessed out of political and party affiliation to talk about ideas. you will never hear him speak ill of somebody else. it is always about the ideals. and i think the fact that he also would always try to put himself in the other person shoes --person from person's shoes was part of it. i will give you an example. worked on the commission for reducing secrecy in government. reducing and protecting secrecy in government. his ideal was to open up lots of
the documents that had been sealed historically. he was trying to figure out a way to get jesse helms, who was on the commission, on board. .o he came up with the concept secrecy is a form of regulation. not a fanr helms was of regulation. so he came up with this concept which, organizing concept, which wasd appeal to somebody who , one might think would have been perhaps opposed to releasing historical documents. however long they might have been under seal. i think it was that -- it was quality about him. toalso had the capacity bring out the best in people by trying to figure out, well, what do you want? what are your ideas?
and working with them. that capacity to reach across the aisle and to serve. his credibility was enhanced by the fact that he served presidents, regardless of party. >> he served president nixon. >> he served president nixon. he served presidents ford at the u.n. in the months before he passed away, he had worked on a commission that george w. bush had put together on social security. capacity it was that to reach across the aisle. i want to go into the background for you, growing up in new york. before i do that, i want to show you some video of somebody that looks an awful lot like you. he also went to columbia university. he is currently on the
massachusetts circuit court. tell us who this man is when we see him. had the privilege of knowing judge breyer since 1980 when i served as his first law clerk. i was on the court of appeals for the first of circuit and also appeared before him on numerous occasions and my opacity of the u.s. attorneys office as an advisor for appellate litigation. one comes away, after having known judge buyer, with a sense that here is a man whose goal is excellence, but excellence in the pursuit of justice, and i think that one can only feel good about the future of america when people such as judge breyer are considered for the supreme court. >> who was that man? identical twinmy brother gary.
he is a judge on the appeals court. i think he is an extraordinary judge. also a very kind human being. he has had an amazing career. he has been on the court, doing basically what i do, but in the state court system, for 10 years, where he is very highly regarded. he has been a prosecutor and the department of justice for 20 years, where his cases included the prosecution of richard reid and the shoe bomber. he is an author, scholar. his book "inside the criminal translateds been into russian. his work on securing justice for bookiles resulted in a with the brookings institution. he has been very actively , in civicn boston
engagement, public engagement programs. and like me, he is a c-span addict. the beginning. what were your parents? are they still with us? >> my parents are still with us. my parents are my heroes. 88.ather is he is a refugee from nazi germany. he came to the united states in march of 1941 with his mother. his father had died on crystal .ight 1938 my mother is from brooklyn. she is 85. her parents were from russia. and my parents are really my heroes. usy have really given all of , for children, the sense that anything and everything in life was possible, and whatever you
do, you should do it with others, with concern for , and with the idea of trying to make the world a better place. my father worked in a hot, on air-conditioned place or 40 40 years.or he went to night school. >> what was his job? >> views an engineer. i can remember he went -- he was an engineer. i can remember when he would come home from night classes. he never complained about anything. i am often asked that i do a lot of work on immigrants and trying to provide counsel for immigrants and i think part of the inspiration as i can still remember the voices and accents came youth and those who to this country, trying to make it a better place, who love this country. they wouldey thought
make this country a better place, but they thought of this as a great nation they wanted to help make even greater. >> your other siblings, what are they, boys, girls, what are they, what are they do? >> i have a brother who was in computers. he is in connecticut. very smart guy. i have a sister who lives in new jersey. she has raised a great family. ago onked several years cnn as a producer. we are all very close. >> what about mom? youris the background for mother? >> my mother raise the kids. and what a great job she did, in terms of attending to each of our needs. you know, i never -- i can't
remember a single crossword my mother ever said to me. that is pretty remarkable. i do not think i am idealizing it. i was talking not that long ago to my siblings, and none of us could think of anything she had said that was unkind. we had the blessing of having two very supportive parents. >> what is the difference -- and he was older, gary or you? >> i am eight minutes older. i used to think i was five minutes older, but about 10 years ago we saw the birth certificate. but he says he kicked me out. , professionally, we do now basically the same things, just in different systems. one in the federal court, the other in a state court system. lawyer would you tell a
that is going to come before our court to not do? >> i would say -- that's a great question. caricature the't arguments on the other side. if a lawyer is to have credibility in a court, certainly with me, i went to have the sense that that lawyer , whiley respectful advocating for his or her point of view of the other side. not -- ate time, is the same time is not side'sating the other arguments. also another thing not to do is not to know the record. if i ask a question about something that happened or that
was in the record, i would want the lawyer to be fully knowledgeable and prepared to talk about that record. and then the third thing for me is answer the questions. which is to say, don't think that if i ask a question, don't answer it with an answer you want to give to another question. please answer my question. of a man ia clip know you disagree with. watch a little bit of this. this is from a 2012 interview. that will give us a chance to get into this book you have written. let's watch. said in some supreme court opinions that sometimes, you know, the letter of the law is contrary to its spirit and its spirit must prevail. that is nonsense. the letter of the law is the
letter of the law. that is what we are governed by. we are not governed by some judicial determination of spirit . which could be anything. the statement comes up often. it is an empowerment of judges. judges can sibley say, oh, yes, the text says that, but that is contrary to the spirit of the law and we're going to go ahead and do whatever we like. that is just not democratic self-government if people can't have the representatives write a statute which is to be applied as written. >> here it is. the new book, "judging statutes ." and you talk about textualism, as he was talking about it. could you two be farther apart on this? what is the issue? where we begin by agree.